Thematic report on the right to access to justice under article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

27 December 2017
To the HRC at its 37th session, 7 March 2018


In its Resolution 31/6, the Human Rights Council requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to submit its annual study on the rights of persons with disabilities on article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for consideration at its 37th session.


The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is the first international human rights instrument that enshrines an explicit right to access to justice. It calls for the elimination of obstacles and barriers faced by persons with disabilities in accessing justice on an equal basis with others, and innovates on previous standards developed under international human rights law. The Convention not only clarifies what access to justice means for persons with disabilities, but also upholds equal and effective participation at all stages of and in every role within the justice system as a core element of the right to access to justice. The Convention thereby expands this right beyond the notions of a fair trial and effective remedies which have been the principal features put forward by human rights instruments and their monitoring bodies.

Article 13 of the Convention underscores the fact that access to justice for persons with disabilities entails not only the removal of barriers to ensure access to legal proceedings to seek and obtain appropriate remedies on an equal basis with others, but also the promotion of the active involvement and participation of persons with disabilities in the administration of justice.

Goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for promoting the rule of law and ensuring equal access to justice for all. Member States have a unique opportunity to implement article 13 of the Convention as part of their strategy to accomplish the goals of the 2030 Agenda. In order to “leave no one behind”, Member States commit to the principles of equality and non-discrimination, including for persons with disabilities, as a cross-cutting feature of all Sustainable Development Goals.

Inputs received

In preparation of the study, OHCHR invited States and relevant stakeholders to present submissions by transmitting a set of questions related to existing legislation, policies and practices regarding access to justice by persons with disabilities. As a result, OHCHR received the responses listed below.

Member States

National Human Rights Institutions

Regional Organizations

NGOs and Civil Society Organizations